Virginia Wine Time

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Sophistication and Elegance Offered at RdV

We finally made it out to RdV Vineyards! The winery has been on our list of wineries to visit for quite a while, and we made an appointment for the weekend after a wintry week of snow and frigid temperatures. We bundled up and headed out to the winery; as we wound our way up to the facility, we were awed by the beauty of the wintry landscape. Before long, we were at the gates of RdV Vineyards, which gracefully swung open to welcome us.

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As we drove up to the parking area, we were immediately impressed with the architecture of the facility. At the center was a silo that serves as the hub for other refurbished structures that include the tasting room. The white snow on the ground and surrounding mountainside complemented the white structures to create a wintry glow that suggested both warmth and sophistication. We were not disappointed when Connie, our tasting associate, greeted us and invited us into the well-appointed tasting room and gave us a moment to warm up next a roaring fire. Glasses of champagne were handed to us, and these said, “hello” as their bubbles danced to the top of the glass as though to compete with the rising flames within the fireplace.

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Connie rejoined us to begin our tour of the facility, and this included a brief biography of owner Rutger de Vink, a man of Dutch heritage who gave up the 9 to 5 life of a .com executive to establish a vineyard in Virginia. De Vink tutored under wine master Jim Law in the early 2000s and by 2006 found a vineyard site thanks to the expertise of noted viticulturist Lucie Morton. De Vink’s vineyard is located on a former farm site noted for its graphite soil composition—poor stuff for most fruits and vegetables but perfect for a vineyard. Graphite is the stuff that makes vines struggle for water and nutrients and thus well suited for producing grapes that produce world-class wines. Sixteen acres of the RdV site is devoted to growing four of the five Bordeaux varietals, and these include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. And the name RdV? These are the initials of owner Rutger de Vink!

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The tour continued into the wine caves where tanks, barrels, and caged bottles are stored. State of the art tanks include individual digital monitors; it was here that we learned that grapes are harvested in lots and therefore ferment in tanks when the lot is picked—grapes for each lot are harvested only when they are ready. From tanks the grape juice continues to evolve in French oak barrels some of which are new while others are older and therefore more neutral. From barrels the wines then go into bottles where they age in cages until ready for release. Wines typically age for about two years in French oak barrels before they are bottled and released.

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So what about the wines, you ask? Connie returned us to the tasting room and its roaring blaze; windows encased the entire room to allow for the full afternoon sun to provide further warmth and ambiance. On coffee tables rested two wine glasses and a plate of cheeses, bread, and olives. The glasses were filled with samples of the two wines that RdV produces—the Merlot-based Rendez-vous and the right-bank inspired Lost Mountain. Rendezvous 2010 was the more accessible of the two with dark cherry notes and a rounder mouth feel; dark fruit flavors were noted in the mouth with soft tannins to boot. The blend included Merlot (44%), Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), Petit Verdot (20%), and Cabernet Franc (12%). The 2010 Lost Mountain presented more complexity with a denser hue; swirling coaxed out elements of blackberry, dark cherry, and tobacco. The tannins were also more evident yet still velvety. Plan to cellar this one! The blend includes Cabernet Sauvignon (64%) and Merlot (36%).

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The wines matched the elegance and sophistication of the RdV facility. As we sipped and savored our wines, it was not hard to imagine that we had been whisked away to a Swiss chalet as we beheld the snow-covered landscape from the tasting room. In time, our tour and tasting came to an end, and we made certain to purchase a bottle each of the 2010 Rendezvous and the 2010 Lost Mountain. Be sure to reserve your own tasting at RdV, and mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Wine Pick Up at Deplane Cellars

After our lasagna lunch at Naked Mountain we decided to stop at Depaplane Cellars to pick up our club wines and enjoy a tasting with our friends Jill and Michael.

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Our favorites from the tasting were the 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the 2012 Williams Gap. The 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay presented apple and pear notes and a lightly creamy ending. The 2012 Williams Gap is a Bordeaux style blend of 4 of the 5 Bordeaux grapes. The only one missing is Malbec. We noted tobacco, earthy notes with blackberry and raspberry. It had a toasty oak finish with pepper hints.

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After our tasting we decided to enjoy the 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the 2013 Melange Rouge with some nibbles. Before leaving we picked up our wine club wines and a few other bottles. We always enjoy our time at Delaplane Cellars. If you haven’t been lately, plan a trip soon. And tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Lasagna Lunch at Naked Moutain

Last weekend our friends Jill and Michael (wine club members) and their son invited us to join them for a tasting and lasagna lunch at Naked Mountain Vineyards. Each year we try to get to Naked Mountain in the winter time to enjoy the lasagna lunch. We were happy to accept their invitation.

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We tasted the current line up of wines before our lunch. From the tasting we all decided our favorites were the 2013 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and the 2012 Raptor Red. We were also surprised by how much we liked the 2013 Birthday Suit. We weren’t looking for a white wine to sip on on a warm spring day but this wine made us think of just that. It was crisp and fruity.

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After our tasting we sat down to enjoy the lasagna lunch. We all agreed to enjoy a bottle of the 2012 Raptor Red with our pasta. We noted blueberry, spice, plum, and toasted oak. It paired deliciously with our lasagna. If you haven’t been out to Naked Mountain lately, be sure to get there during the winter so you can enjoy the lasagna lunch. And when you do, tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Happy New Year!

margauxEvery December 30th for the last 6 years many of our wine friends have gathered at our friend Susan’s house for a final wine dinner of the year. Last night we enjoyed a wonderful dinner with friends and some amazing wines.

The star of the evening was the 1990 Chateau Margaux. It had a brown, brick edge in the color, due to age. Warren noted on his first impression tobacco and earthy elements; third swirl and air revealed cherry on the palate with sweet tobacco and good acidity. Paul and Bruce noted cranberry while Sylvia caught a whiff of geraniums. It was a wonderful wine that everyone enjoyed! What a great way to end the year!

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Happy New Year to all our readers! Thank you for continuing to return to our blog and read about our wine adventures! Cheers!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! We hope you are enjoying the holidays with some Virginia wine! We’ll be taking the next few weeks off to enjoy the holidays!
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Tree Decorating and A6

A6One of our traditions at this time of the year is to spend a Friday evening decorating my Christmas tree. We plan to have ham, yams, and cranberry sauce. And the wine we try to have every year is the A6 from Cardinal Point Vineyard.

The A6 is a blend of viognier and chardonnay…two of our favorite grapes. The Viognier spends time in oak and the Chardonnay is stainless steel aged. This blend creates rich fruit at the beginning and a long, crisp finish. It paired well with our ham dinner. Unfortunately this was my last bottle. We’ll have to plan a trip to Cardinal Point to pick up a few more bottles. This isn’t a problem though. We always enjoy visiting Cardinal Point and getting to visit with Sarah Gorman.

Do you have a tradition of wine and tree decorating? What wine do you enjoy while decorating your tree? If you haven’t tried the A6 recently, we recommend you pick up a bottle or two and enjoy it at this time of the year. And if you visit Cardinal Point, be sure to tell them Virginia Wine Time sent you!

Lodi Comes To Virginia

LodiWell, not quite. We recently savored a bottle of Oak Ridge Winery’s 2012 OZV (Old Zinfandel Vines) with a hearty beef dish topped with sautéed mushrooms and served beside herb-roasted potatoes. This sort of dish was just what the doctor ordered on a chilly night, and we decided to go outside of our Virginia wine comfort zone to try something new. Wait—we actually tried something old. Oak Ridge Winery is located in the Lodi region of California, and the old zinfandel vines that crafted this wine were over 50 years old. Like old people, old vines do struggle a bit more to get by; older vines also tend to produce smaller, more delicate clusters. However, despite their age, old vine wines still have much to offer. With this in mind, we opened the 2012 OZV an hour before dinner to give the old timer a chance to breathe for a spell. The 2012 OZV proved to us that old timers still rock! (To a couple of 50-somethings, it was quite inspiring!)

So on to the wine. We appreciated its dense color and notes of dark cherry, all spice, and vanilla. Flavors of brambleberries dipped in chocolate and fall spices filled the mouth and complemented the herbed dishes quite well. The finish was quite lengthy to boot. Braised dishes should also pair well with the Oak Ridge 2012 OZV; however, I would not relegate this oldie but goodie to winter menus. I’d serve this with any grilled meats topped with barbeque sauce on a warm summer’s day. Old yet charming and quite versatile, we enjoyed the Oak Ridge Winery 2012 OZV.

Ask for Oak Ridge Winery’s 2012 OZV at your local wine shop. Of course, this should be in addition to a purchase of your favorite Virginia wine. Just mention that Virginia Wine Time sent you!

How To Taste Wine

National Beaujolais Day

beaujolaisToday is National Beaujolais Day! We were sent a bottle of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2014. In celebration of National Beaujolais Day we decided to open the bottle and give it a taste.

While we are generally not huge fans of Beaujolais, it does make for a simple sipper and pairs well with simple foods. We enjoyed our Beaujolais by itself. It has a cherry red/purple color in the glass. As the tasting notes suggested, we got lots of strawberries on the nose and on the palate. It’s a causal sipper that would actually pair well with light meals like a hamburger or even pepperoni pizza.

The 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau is on sale now for a suggested retail price of $10.99. You can’t beat that when looking for a light sipper to enjoy with some light fair. Will you be enjoying a favorite Beaujolais today? Tell us what you’ll be having in the comments!

Blogiversary!

Today is our 9th blogiversary! Nine years ago today we started Virginia Wine Time. In that time we’ve visited 171 wineries in Virginia. We still have many more to visit. We have 878 posts about wine with 577 comments from readers like you! While blogs have lost some of their popularity over the years, we do plan to continue to visit Virginia wineries and post about our experiences here. So be sure to come back often to find out where we have been and what we think of the wines we tasted!

A HUGE thank you for continuing to check it and share our experiences. Without our readers, there wouldn’t be a point to the blog.

Thank you!
Paul and Warren

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